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Les Essais – Journal,

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First 4to edition of Montaigne’s Voyage,
bound with the first complete edition of Montaigne’s Essais.

One of the best and most beautiful editions of Montaigne” (Tchemerzine).

A superb and precious copy, with wide margins, on large paper,
preserved in its beautiful dark blue morocco binding.


Montaigne, Michel de. Les Essais de Michel, Seigneur de Montaigne.  Nouvelle édition, Faite sur les plus anciennes  & les plus correctes : augmentée de quelques Lettres de l’Auteur… & de nouveaux Indices plus amples & plus utiles que ceux qui avoient paru jusqu’ici. Par Pierre Coste.
Londres, J. Tonson & J. Watts, 1724.
Followed by:
Montaigne, Michel de. Journal du voyage de Michel de Montaigne en Italie, par la suisse & l’Allemagne, en 1580 & 1581 ; Avec des Note sâr M. de Querlon.
Rome et se trouve à Paris, Le Jay, 1774.

2 books in 4 volumes 4to [289 x 230 mm] of : I/ (1) l. for the portrait, (2) ll., XV pp., (4) ll., 363 pp., (6) ll., XVIII pp., (1) bl. ll., (1) l., 95 pp. ; II/ 538 pp., (8) ll. of table.; III/ (1) l. ,411 pp., (12) pp. of table ; IV/ (1) l. for the portrait, (4) ll., LIV and 416 pp.

Dark blue morocco, triple gilt fillets around the covers, richly decorated flat spines, lettering pieces in red morocco, double gilt fillets on leading edges, inner gilt roll-stamp, gilt edges. Contemporary binding.

Exceptional reunion, in a very beautiful and homogenous binding in contemporary morocco, of the first 4to edition of Montaigne’s Voyage and the first complete edition of the Essais.

I/ First edition 4to of Montaigne’s Journal.

Tchemerzine, IV, 914 ; Bibliotheca Desaniana, n°111.

Edition published at the same time as the 12mo edition.” (Tchemerzine)

“The original manuscript disappeared a short time after its discovery and the 1774 edition is now the only “original” text that we have left at our disposal. This first edition of the Journal de voyage, dedicated to Buffon, was published in three different formats, all printed a few weeks apart: 12mo in 2 volumes, 4to in 1 volume and 12mo in 3 volumes. In keeping with the bibliophilic tastes of the 18th century, the 4to format is considered to be more desirable and most of the copies we know of in this format are in blond mottled or tree calf with decorated gilt spines.” (Philippe Desan)

II/First complete edition of Montaigne’s « Essais ».

Tchemerzine, IV, 909 ; Brunet, III, 1838-1839 ; Bibliotheca Desaniana, n°95 ; Catalogue André Pottiée-Sperry, n°19 ; Lowndes, III, 1588 ; Graesse, IV, 580.

“One of the best and most beautiful editions of Montaigne, the first given by Pierre Coste.” (Tchemerzine)

“The remarkable Pierre Coste edition.” (A. Pottiée-Sperry)

“One must add the supplement published in London in 1740 under the title: “Supplément aux Essais de Michel, seigneur de Montaigne, Londres, G. Darres & J. Brindley, 1740”, 4to of 96 pp.

“The supplement includes the additions that Coste made to the edition he gave of the “Essais” in 1739.” (Tchemerzine)

Very complete copy of the supplement bound in part I.

“The most beautiful edition we have of Montaigne.” (Graesse)

First integral edition of the “Essais” since they were censured in 1676.

A Protestant who fled to London, Pierre Coste (1668-1747) had already published some short extracts of the “Essais” in 1708. He published what is considered as the first edition of Montaigne’s work. 

For the first time, Montaigne’s letters (seven in total) are included in this edition of the “Essais”.

Eight new editions made from his original text were published after his death in 1747. Coste says he followed the 1595 L’Angelier edition and added the explanatory notes that make this edition a true critical edition.” (Bibliotheca Desaniana)

“Montaigne’s admirers are all very grateful to Coste for his work; his generally good editions, his notes, maybe a bit too long but always accurate, his translations, have popularized the Essais, and made them accessible to many readers.” (Payen, n°38 et 39)

The old editions of Montaigne’s “Essais” in contemporary morocco have always been sought-after.

A superb and precious copy, with very wide margins (height: 289 mm), on large paper, preserved in its contemporary dark blue morocco.

The copy listed by Philippe Desan was 283 mm high and the copy listed by André Pottiée-Sperry : 285 mm.

Tchemerzine only mentions 3 copies, all bound in old calf: “Bénard, 4000 frs ; Roussel, 1300 frs ; De Backer, 3650 fr.

An exceptional reunion of Montaigne’s Essais and Journal, preserved in its homogenous and superb contemporary dark blue morocco binding.


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